PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - earning a rare Red Star Review
“In this remarkable memoir, mother and son tell their story, in alternating chapters, of their life. Fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston shouldn’t hesitate to embrace this formidable matriarch and the son she taught to cook her chi soups.” Nov 20, 2006
American Library Association -- BOOKLIST
“[The Eighth Promise] is part multigenerational saga and part tale of race-fueled political turmoil fused together with a refreshingly honest portrayal of a timeless mother-son bond. Lee tapes thirty hours of conversations of his reminiscing mother and intersperses his own words to create this enlightening, thought provoking memoir. -- Deborah Donovan, Feb l, 2007
Review rating: A -
Lowdown: Peppered with wit and sarcasm this gracefully told story foregoes melodrama.
Telling Words: “Our lives are not the stuff of a quaint ethnological story -- a misty harking back to a romanticized past.” by Hannah Tucker, Spring Preview Issue, Feb 9, 2007
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS, LAWRENCE
"This book is one of the best best explorations of a man's relationship with his mother in modern American literature. I recommend it to everyone." -- Chancellor Robert Hemingway
SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY -- ASIAN STUDIES & FAMILY STUDIES
“ Beyond Amy Tan and Gus Lee. This is a real story of family - the universality of transcending war, injustice, a
son in prison, and nervous breakdowns.” -- Professor Grace Yoo
ASIAN REVIEW OF BOOKS
“ The Eighth Promise is highly readable, an engaging story of what it means to be human.
About two-thirds into the book an explosive event occurs that turns Lee’s life upside down. Because it is so dramatic, worthy of a suspense novel, I won’t spoil the impact of this twist for readers. The pace of the book becomes a page-turning, literary suspense story.
Lee abandons his study of architecture to fight political and judicial inequities. Along the way he rubs the wrong people the wrong way, nearly leading to his own violent end. Lee discovers a strength he didn’t know he possessed, but eventually realizes it comes from his mother’s eighth promise. He has found a deep well of compassion that he draws from for his fight, a fight that includes saving his own life. We all could benefit from drawing from this well.” -- Todd Shimoda, Feb 17, 2007, www.asianreviewofbooks.com
“The accounts of both worlds -- especially that offered by Lee’s mother, Poy Jen -- are richly drawn and evocative, lending the book the dreamy wish-I-were-there appeal of a travel memoir...a lively read and a significant contribution to the body of literature that continues to bubble up from the steaming cauldron that is the American experience.” by Meredith Maran, Feb 8, 2007, www.salon.com
UCLA DEPT OF ENGLISH & ASIAN AMERICAN; STUDIES
“I read an advance copy of The Eighth Promise and taught the hardcover the week after it was published. The Eighth Promise propels Asian American literature beyond the confines of ethnography to the center of galvanizing social change. It shows Asian Americans forged in the crucibles of the civil rights movement and the criminal justice system, and how they bravely fought and viscerally suffered for the privileges we enjoy today. Unlike many books by American-born Chinese that express deep reservations about their ancestral heritage, Lee’s memoir pays loving tribute to his maternal Toisanese legacy.” -- Professor King-kok Cheung
SEACOAST NEWS - the Source for Seacoast New Hampshire & Southern Maine
“Moving and thoughful, leavened gently with humor...” -- Lynn Harnett
Causes William Lee Supports
Kim Baptiste's Culture Clash Hip-Hop Clubs for Youth, SF Bay Area East Bay Meditation Center, availing Buddhist wisdom to inner cities Belladonna Sanctuary...